Bean prices reach highest level in 3 years in El Salvador

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By LatAm Reports Editor

Beans have been one of the basic grains that has suffered the most from the onslaught of climate change in El Salvador, which has led the population to pay more and more for its consumption. According to official data, the quintal has risen $39.03 in the last three years.

The daily agricultural price report of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAG) reported in January a price of $96.40 per quintal, 40% higher than the value it maintained in January of previous years.

The Salvadoran Chamber of Small and Medium Agricultural Producers (CAMPO) affirms that the El Niño climate phenomenon and tropical storm Pilar caused producers to lose 302,150 quintals in the 2023-2024 cycle.

But the agricultural sector had already been hit a year ago by climate issues with the passage of Storm Julia. In the bean category, the loss amounted to $11.9 million. By volume, the country lost 158,655 quintals, according to the union data.

Is there a general rise in the basic basket. The pound of beans, searching for me, I find it at $1.35; on other sides it is worth $1.50, before it was worth $0.50 (the pound) .
Sandra Guzmán, trader of Ahuachapán.

‘I feel like I’m drowning in the prices of the basic basket, before the beans cost a dollar, then they went up slowly to $1.50. They used to go up in price because there were droughts, but now prices are up there or not. Every year that passes is worse,” said Nora Gutiérrez, a resident of Zacatecoluca.

This situation not only beslows Nora, THE GREAT PRESS toured the Columbus market in Santa Ana, where basic grain traders agreed that the price of beans has risen since the end of last year. In this supply center, the quintal is at $95.

Celina Chavez, owner of a basic grain business, explained that the price of beans is related to the bad harvests: “To those of us who buy it, they say that the harvest has been bad and there is little beans,” he said.

In Ahuachapán, citizens also suffer from the high price of beans, one of the foods most consumed by the Salvadoran population.

“There is a general rise in the basic basket. The pound of beans, searching for me, meets it at $1.35; on other sides it is worth $1.50, before it was worth $0.50 (the pound),” said trader Sandra Guzmán.

In the eastern part of the country, the value of the national bean pound was identified as being around $1.10 to $1.25. “The quintal is at $105 and that hasn’t come out of very good quality because last year’s rains damaged it. Since December the price has remained so,” said Isabel Torres, a market saleswoman for Usulután.

White trader Lizama, originally from Jucuapa, said the price has been maintained since December. “This is national beans produced in cantons. We’re looking to earn a couple of cents per pound so it doesn’t affect us in the sale. The pound is given to $1.25,” he said.

I feel like I’m drowning in the prices of the basic basket; before the beans cost a dollar, then they gradually went up to $1.50.Nora Gutiérrez, inhabitant of Zacatecoluca.

In San Miguel, residents said prices have fallen. ‘The bean pound if it’s presented a drop, because a few months ago it was up to $1.40 a pound, but right now it’s $1.15. It’s not at the price we expect yet, but it already feels like it spends less one,” Daysi Murillo said.

For his part, Carlos Torres pointed out that “the pound of beans cost up to $1.50 and now it is between $1.15 and $1.10; there yes, we already feel the low, we can already make the soup again,” he said.

Grass deficit

Last month, CAMPO warned that the Salvadoran market will need 7.8 million quintals of basic grains in 2024, to supply domestic demand. Of beans, the projected deficit is 551,720 quintals.

“We estimate that with this production we arrive in June and from there the market will only be supplied with imports, which unfortunately do not favor the producer, because it takes away the incentive to sow; nor does it favor the final consumer, because it does not lower the price,” he said.

The Ministry of Agriculture has not yet published a final count of the damage to crops by El Niño and Storm Pilar, although it did recognize the impact in 2023.

CAMPO has called on government authorities to act effectively to avoid famine, especially with the forecasts of a super child for the 2024-2025 cycle, a more intense version of the phenomenon with even more devastating consequences.

Early warning

In October 2022, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) warned that high fertilizer prices could lead to an increase in production costs, less harvested and food prices to rise more by 2023.

By 2024, the Early Warning Against Famine Systems Network (FEWS NET) projects that prices for basic grains in El Salvador will persist upwards due to reduced availability due to the damage to production of the last agricultural cycles.

The quintal is at $105 and that hasn’t come out of very good quality because last year’s rains damaged it. Since December
The price has remained like this.
Isabel Torres, seller of the Usulután market

In a report in November last year, FEWS NET noted that in the period from March to May 2024 there will be a seasonal deterioration in the food state of households, due to the impact of drought on the agricultural sector caused by the El Niño phenomenon.

The Network predicts that continuity in dry conditions, accompanied by atypically high temperatures, plus irregular rains will cause a delay in the planting of the first 2024.

High prices

For this year, the Early Warning Systems Network against Famine provides for prices of basic grains to continue to rise due to reduced availability due to damage to production in recent agricultural cycles. In addition, irregular rains are expected to cause a delay in the planting of first 2024.

This article has been translated from the original which first appeared in La Prensa Grafica